Banning information as a redistributive device
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In this paper we analyze the optimality of allowing firms to observe signals of workers’ characteristics in an optimal taxation framework. We show that it is always optimal to prohibit signals that disclose information about differences in the intrinsic productivities of workers like mandatory health exams and IQ tests, for example. On the other hand, it is never optimal to forbid signals that reveal information about the comparative advantages of workers like their specialization and profession. When signals are mixed (they disclose both types of information), there is a trade-off between efficiency and equity. It is optimal to prohibit signals with sufficiently low comparative advantage content.